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EMSC Committee



John B. King, Jr.


Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for Challenge Preparatory Charter School


February 2, 2010


Goals 1 and 2





Issue for Decision

Should the Regents approve and issue the proposed charter for Challenge Preparatory Charter School (New York City)?

Background Information

We have received a proposed charter from the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York for the establishment of Challenge Preparatory Charter School (CHPCS or “the School”).  The School will open in August 2010.  Initially, the School will serve 120 students in grades K – 1 in Year One, and grow to serve 360 students in grades K – 5 in its fifth year of operation.  The School's mission is “to prepare students to excel academically and compete successfully for admission to high-performing public, private and parochial high schools in NYC.” 

The School does not have a management partner.  CHPCS will provide instruction from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. for 190 days per academic year.  The School proposes to offer a rigorous academic curriculum in a safe and supportive school environment where children cultivate the intellectual, social, emotional and ethical development needed to achieve mastery of the New York State learning standards.

The New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) held a public hearing in Community School District 27 on July 30, 2009.  NYC DOE reported that the majority of the comments were positive. 

Additional information concerning this initial application may also be found on the Board of Regents website at


VOTED: That the Board of Regents approves and issues the charter of the Challenge Preparatory Charter School as proposed by the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York, and issues a provisional charter to it for a term of five years, up through and including February 8, 2015.

Reasons for Recommendation

              (1) The charter school described in the proposed charter meets the requirements set out in Article 56 of the Education Law, and all other applicable laws, rules, and regulations; (2) the applicant can demonstrate the ability to operate the school in an educationally and fiscally sound manner; and (3) approving and issuing the proposed charter is likely to improve student learning and achievement and materially further the purposes set out in subdivision two of section twenty-eight hundred fifty of Article 56 of the Education Law.

Timetable for Implementation

           The Regents action for the Challenge Preparatory Charter School is effective         immediately.    










New York State Education Department

Summary of Proposed Charter

Name of Proposed Charter School:  Challenge Preparatory Charter School (CHPCS or “the School”)

Address:  TBD

Applicant:  Rev. Leslie Mullings


Anticipated Opening Date:  August 2010

District of Location:  New York City Community School District 27, Queens


Charter Entity:  Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York

Institutional Partner:  N/A

Management Partner:  N/A

Grades Served:

2010-2011:  K – 1

2011-2012:  K – 2

                                                        2012-2013:  K – 3

2013-2014:  K – 4

2014-2015:  K – 5


Projected Enrollment:        

2010-2011:  120

2011-2012:  180

                                                        2012-2013:  240

2013-2014:  300

2014-2015:  360


Proposed Charter Highlights


              The lead applicant, Rev. Dr. Leslie Mullings, is the executive director of the Rockaway Center for Community Development.  Reverend Mullings is also employed as a substance abuse counselor and youth development specialist by the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE).  He is the Senior Pastor of the Far Rockaway Community Church of the Nazarene.  The applicant holds a Ph.D. in urban studies from Chelsea University in London, an M.A. in counseling and psychology from Shepperton University in London, and a B.A. in religion from the Nazarene Theological College. 

Institutional Partner


Management Partner





  • The School will utilize the workshop model to deliver curricula in all subject areas.  The model is student-centered and encourages collaborative learning based on structured communication and feedback between students.
  • The educational philosophy balances teacher-centered and student-centered instruction.
  • The School will provide instruction in each subject in the seven general curriculum areas.  The proposed curriculum is aligned to all 28 New York State (NYS) learning standards. 
  • CHPCS will use McGraw Hill’s Treasures Reading Program for grades K through 5, supplemented with Wilson Language’s Fundations for grades K-3. 
  • The School will use Pearson-Scott Foresman envision MATH (2009) for grades K through 5. 
  • Science instruction will be delivered using the MacMillan McGraw Hill Science curriculum for grades K through 5.  CHPCS will supplement the primary curriculum with Delta/Full Option Science System kits to provide hands-on opportunities.
  • CHPCS will use the Houghton Mifflin Social Studies curriculum.  Social studies instruction will be supplemented with field trips to museums, exhibitions and historical sites.  Documentaries will be integrated into classroom instruction. 
  • Grade level teachers will create weekly assessments for all subject areas.  The School proposes to have weekly, monthly, and annual achievement goals for each grade, and for each student.
  • The School will administer all assessments required by NYS.
  • To assess reading fluency, phonemic awareness, reading comprehension and writing development, the School will administer the ECLAS-2 to students in grades to 2.
  • To determine reading fluency and comprehension levels, CHPCS will administer the DIBELS to students in grades K through 5 three times each year. 
  • To group students for reading instruction, plan instruction, and identify students who need interventions, the School will administer the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) in grades K through 5. 
  • The DRA will be administered in six week cycles, beginning in October for grades K through 2 and beginning in September for grades 3 through 5. 
  • The Terra Nova reading and math assessments will be administered annually beginning in grade 1.
  • The School will provide instruction to students with disabilities (SWD) using an inclusion model.
  • The School will provide instruction to English language learners (ELL) using a structured immersion model. 
  • The School’s data-driven instruction will be based on frequent assessments of students and coordinated communication with teachers and staff about outcomes and expectations.
  • The School proposes a 180-day instructional year.
  • The School will provide an extended day with instruction from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Monday through Thursday. 




  • The number of Trustees shall not be fewer than five and shall not exceed 11.
  • Trustees will be divided into three classes for the purposes of staggering the terms of office.  The terms of the first class of trustees will expire in one year.  The terms of the second class will expire in two years.  The terms of the third class will expire in three years. 
  • The officers of the corporation will be chair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer.
  • No more than 40 percent of trustees will be affiliated with the School as a compensated employee or contractor or any other single entity; and such persons will not serve as chair or treasurer of the Board.
  • Regular meetings of the board of trustees shall be held no less than 10 times each year. 
  • The initial standing committee of the board of trustees shall be executive, finance, and academic accountability.




  • The School will serve 120 students in grades K – 1 in Year One and will grow to serve 360 students in grades K – 5 in Year Five.   
  • CHPCS will enroll 60 students per grade in Year One. 
  • Each grade will have three classes of 20 students each.
  • The School anticipates that students in grades K through 5 will range in age from five to 11.
  • In 2007-2008, the demographics for community school district (CSD) 27 were 32 Black, 35 percent Hispanic, one percent American Indian, 22 percent Asian, 10 percent White, nine percent ELL, and 82 percent federal free/reduced lunch program.
  • CHPCS anticipates serving a slightly higher percentage of Black children and low-income (90 percent) children than the district average, based on the demographics of the Far Rockaway neighborhood. 
  • The School’s student outreach plan will include mailings to CSD 27 residents, visits to local organizations and canvassing neighborhoods to further reach interested families.  CHPCS will conduct open houses at public and private elementary schools, after-school programs, and youth centers.  Additionally, the School will distribute flyers and notices in local newspapers, supermarkets, community centers and apartment complexes. 
  • CHPCS will provide multilingual documents for all outreach efforts. 




  • The School is seeking incubation space in a New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) facility.  The applicant has not identified a publicly available space for lease within the targeted community school district (CSD). 
  • The School’s Year One revenue will be $2,796,776 and will grow to $5,037,019 in Year Five. 
  • CHPCS has received letters of support from elected officials pledging $550,000 of support during the Start-Up period and an additional $510,000 during Year One. 
  • The Year One budget anticipates total expenses of $2,390,220, and $4,462,962 in Year Five. 
  • CHPCS projects carrying forward a balance of $469,850 from the start-up period.
  • The School anticipates an ending fund balance of $606,556 at the end of Year One and $1,028,115 at the end of Year Five.
  • The School will reserve in an escrow account $70,000 by Year Three, making contributions of $10,000 in Year One,  $20,000 in Year Two, and $40,000 in Year Three towards its dissolution fund.
  • CHPCS estimates receiving a City of New York Start Up Grant in the amount of $97,920 based on its projected enrollment.
  • The School assures that it will perform all programmatic and fiscal audits annually as required by the New York State Charter Schools Act, in accordance with auditing standards and Government Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States.
  • The potential fiscal impact upon the District is represented below.  Please note that these projections are based upon several assumptions, which may or may not occur: that all existing charter schools will also exist in the next five years and serve the same grade levels as they do now; that the charter schools will be able to meet their projected maximum enrollment; that all students will come from NYC and no other districts; that all students will attend everyday for a 1.0 FTE; that the District’s budget will increase at the projected rate; that the per pupil payment will increase (and not decrease); and that the per pupil payment will increase at the projected rate.





Projected Fiscal Impact of

Challenge Preparatory Charter School 

(New York City – CSD 27 – Queens)

2010-2011 through 2014-2015

School Year

Number of Students

Projected Payment*

Projected Impact





















* Assumes no increase in the District’s budget from the base of $21 billion in 2010-2011; and no increase in the average expense per pupil per year from the 2010-2011 rate of $12,443.




  • The School will be led by a school leader, dean of curriculum and instruction, and a director of finance and operations. 
  • The dean of curriculum and instruction will provide leadership on professional development, instructional support, and ongoing evaluations of instructional service delivery.  
  • The director of finance and operations will provide oversight of the financial management and operations of the school. 
  • The School will employ the following staff in its first year of instruction: one data specialist, one administrative assistant, six classroom teachers, six assistant teachers, one reading specialist, one special education teacher, one ELL teacher, one physical education teacher, one music teacher, one social worker, one nurse, one custodian and one security guard. 
  • In Year Five, the School will employ the following staff: one special needs coordinator, one data specialist, two administrative assistants, 18 classroom teachers, nine assistant teachers, two reading specialists, two special education teachers, two ELL teachers, two physical education teachers, two music teachers, two social workers, one art teacher, one nurse, one guidance counselor, one custodian and one security guard. 
  • The School will add a guidance counselor and a second social worker in Year Three. 


Community Support


  • The School provided 135 signatures of parents, with children eligible to enroll in grades K-1, who have expressed interest in a school of another name.
  • The School has also received letters of support from the following community leaders and organizations: Michelle Titus, State Assembly Member representing the 31st Assembly District (Queens), James Sanders, City Council Member representing the 31st Council District (Queens);  Helen Marshall, Borough President (Queens);  Malcolm Smith, State Senator; Jonathan Gaska, District Manager Community Board #14; Kevin Alexander, Executive Director, Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation; and from Congressman Gregory Meeks, House of Representatives – 6th Congressional District.


Public Opinion


  • NYC DOE mailed a letter and posted a notice on its website, notifying the public and independent schools in CSD 27 of the proposed application for Challenge Preparatory Charter School and inviting comments at a public hearing. 
  • The public hearing was held on July 30, 2009.  Five comments were made.  NYC DOE stated comments made were in support of the application. 


Archived materials include the agenda and associated materials for each meeting, and a detailed summary posted at the conclusion of the meeting.